Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Persephone 2013 Diary

I received my little package in the mail from the UK, the Persephone Biannually.  It's just so fun to receive with updates on new publications and short stories.

This year I've ordered the 2013 Persephone Diary.  Every year I look around for a diary that I will enjoy for the year.  Two years ago I made my own on Blurb.  This year as it commemorates 100 books for Persephone and has all the beautiful fabric end papers in one collection, I thought that I would enjoy this.

Every Persephone book has a grey cover, but to brighten the book all the inside sheets have a different fabric pattern, representing the era of the story.


P.S.  No work today as there is no power at my office.  I'm getting to the point where this is good and bad, because there will be a mountain of work to go back to.  Still I will enjoy it and make the most of it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After The Storm

We just got our electric back at 6:15 PM this evening, just in time as the light was almost gone.

When we lost our electric at 9:15 PM last night we decided to call it a day and go to bed, with the wind howling, but to be honest not as much rain as we thought we would get right in our area.

Yesterday I spent the day making jewelery, that was fun, two bracelets in different styles to match my chalcedony ring and a pair of earings to match also.

It's been a quiet day, the gas stove has been on all day in the Simla room and we have been reading and I've been on my iPad as it holds at least an eight hour charge.

We raked out one of our camping stove's and Mr. B. made me a cup of tea which I had in bed.  We all slept in quite late, what a luxury.

Heating up the turkey soap.

This little cheap crank torch/flashlight, radio, alarm; which you crank really came in handy.

Brought out the coffee percolator.

This little camping stove is the best thing for camping since sliced bread.  I bought it at a Korean store, I know you can get them in other countries around the world.  They run on a little butane cylinder no bigger than a large hair spray bottle.

They are so easy to light and easy to tote on picnics.

Turkey Florentine soup with onion bread.

Tea and ginger snaps.

Peaceful time chatting with my boy about his plans and communing with the cats.

A little tea towel that I found a the NSH yard sale, made in the USA, so probably from the fifties, I love it.

My Beamish mug; which mum bought me on our last camping trip together with my parents.  So happy memories. 

Those leaves on that old oak tree never come off.  In fact I was amazed to see how many leaves were left on the trees after all that wind yesterday and yet there were.

We were very fortunate in this area right where I am, no damage I can see so far, but I know other areas were hit very badly, so a lot of aftermath for some folk.  Wish them all well.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy - The Perfect Storm

No work today!

Our New York office is closed too as all the NY Transit System closed down last night at 7:00 PM.

We had an announcement at our congregation meeting yesterday, from the Branch Office, to be prepared.  One of our elders phoned in the morning to make sure that we had everything we needed; which I thought was so good, plus make sure the elders have our phone numbers, and email address to contact us in case of extended emergency.

We have our wood stove so will not be cold, although it is not that cold temperature wise.  We have camping stoves and an outside calor gas grill.  We have food stores in the basement and will run water in the bath and fill up containers.  We live at almost at the top of the hill, so are on somewhat higher ground.  Will remember not to park the car under our old ash tree which is on it's last legs.

I don't get over anxious over these types of things, but on the other hand one would be foolish not to heed warnings and take the necessary precautions.  So many weather patterns are not normal anymore and you can't say it will not happen because so many freak storms have never happened before, there is always a first time.

Everything is shut down from Virginia to New York State, waiting for the impact of Hurricane Sandy.  I keep thinking of the movie the Perfect Storm with George Clooney playing a New England fisherman and how three storms converge together to make the perfect storm, well this is a similar situation in that it's a combination of hurricane and nor'easter amplified.

Hurricane Sandy came up from the south and they do this time of year,  but usually they gradually peter out and stay out to sea and then hit somewhere up in New England.  But this storm  which has been named Frankenstorm, because of a two cold fronts, one west of Hurricane Sandy and one north coming down from Canada, has drawn the hurricane inland.  It carries a lot of water and is moving very slowly, plus it is full moon, so tides will be at their highest, so will effect several high tides, the worst is meant to hit this evening.

Mr B made goodies and pork chops in the slow cooker.  I started a pot of turkey soup; which I will finish today.  Need to fill some water jugs and we will see what happens.

Just looking out of my Simla Room window yesterday evening.

At the moment some winds and rain, will keep you posted.


Friday, October 26, 2012

The Colour Of My Childhood Fawn

As a child of the mid fifties, a baby boomer although that term wasn't around then, born the year rationing ended after WWII, the colour of my childhood was fawn.

Even just using that word I can still hear mum saying I'll take five balls of fawn.  Mum knitted a lot of our jumpers and the pattern of choice was Fair Isle.  So when I ran across this painting it so evoked memories of childhood.

Stanley Cursitor, The Fair Isle Jumper, (1923) The Edinburgh City Arts Centre

I love the little slouch beret mainly fawn with the Fair Isle band and little pom poms, how pretty is that?

We wore brown lace up shoes, fawn socks, quite often a tartan kilt, or a gym slip and very often a Fair Isle jumper with a fawn background, or a cardigan.  

I have a photo of when I was very young at a party.  My mum went out and splurged on a beautiful little party dress for me.  Now remember this is when you went to the one shop in town that specialized in children's outfits, not the racks and racks of clothes you look through today.  In this photo, in black and white I'm in my little party dress, which I think mum said was white and pink, it looks like everyone else must be wearing fawn.  I will look it up and insert it, because it so speaks of that era.

Dad thought mum had spent an awful lot on this dress for me for a company party, but I must have stood out in it as every one said" Who's little girl is that?" "Oh! That's Tubby's daughter."  That was my dad's nick name.

Will insert photo.

I was a vivacious child, very blond, wanting to do my own thing, you can see that in the photo, I am being held back, by the boys either side of me.

The coats of my child hood were a duffel coat and a Harris Tweed.  This was our winter attire.

What memories do you have of colours and clothes of your childhood?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jomar Is Closing and Pazyryk Tomb Felted Items

I can't believe it.  My friend M. told me that Jomar is closing, not all their stores but the one near us.  We are devastated, it was the place we went to especially for fabric.  Having a party and want material for tablecloths yards and yards of it, this was the place to go to.

Looking for a little outfit, not expensive, this is where we would go.  And just for the fun of looking at all the crazy things that turned up there.  It was like the shop of last selling resort, there were deals to be had too.  So we are just sick about it.

Saturday we went around the shop, saying this is terrible.  The fabrics and trims that they sold there were amazing, and now even more amazing at 50% off already ridiculously low prices.

I bought a yard of this and that.  The little check material is wool for a suit, that I bought 6 yards of.   Plus I bought some trims.  The other is curtain fabrics, or what ever you want to use it for.  I did buy a serious amount of curtain brocade, black with a rose bud on, I have plans for that.

They had shelves and shelves of trims, such wonderful color combinations, oh! I'm telling you this is terrible.  I expect I'll get over it but.

I bought a nice Indian cotton blouse for the summer to go over jeans for one dollar and a Pancho/jacket/vest combo in black wool combination $10.00 and truthfully that was a splurge seeing what most the other prices were in the store.

Did get some work done this weekend on the basement.  Putting some things out back for people to take if they want and will thrift other items.  It will eventually come together.  It will never be the Ritz it is an unfinished basement, but I do have visions of crafting with friends there, so we will see.  Lots of work to do.

I picked up two books at the thrift, you'll never stop me from adding more books, it's an addiction.  One was on rug making and the other on felting. 

I seriously want to go to the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, to see the collection of felted items that they found in a tomb in Siberia.  I found this wonderful PDF about the Textiles of Pazyryk. from the University of Pennsylvania Museum; which is on our doorstep.

Saddle Cover Eastern Altai, Pazyryk Burial Mound 1
Felt, leather, horsehair
5th century BC
L 119 cm, w 60 cm
This cover of thin red felt trimmed along the edges with strips of leather is decorated with applique designs in coloured felt. On the sides of the cover are two identical compositions: a winged griffin, standing on the ibex he has overwhelmed, holds in his beak one of the victim's horns; the ibex's forefeet are bent under him, while his hind legs, together with the hindquarters, also twisted around, turn upwards; the head faces backward.
According to the traditions of ancient Altai art, the animals' bodies are emphasized by applique designs in the form of a dot, triangle and drop.
On either side the saddle cover has three pendants of yellow felt trimmed with red horsehair and lined with leather. The outer side of each pendant shows an applique design in coloured felt of a moufflon between two horned tiger's heads. The cover is highly decorative. 

The history of felting is so interesting.  Will be reading more on that subject.



Clare, Suffolk

Would you like to take a little walk around my mum's very favourite village to visit, Clare, Suffolk.  It's just a short drive from BB's about three miles.  We park our car in the Castle car park, near the canal, it used to be free but those days are gone.

We take a slow amble as it is uphill to the village of Clare, passing by the old mill warehouse which is now Clare Antiques a collections of different vendors under one roof.  This time we don't go in as it is a whole visit on it's own and if you don't want to tire out then you must go another day.  On a previous visit I bought a very lovely antique 1920's gold ring, with little inset crystals, like an eternity ring one edge is different to the other and goes so lovely with a diamond ring that I have, I wear the two together.

We're now at the top cross roads, where we will cross and walk into the village.

Our first stop is the bakery on the corner where we buy fresh rolls for our picnic lunch along with a lovely pastry or cake to go with our coffee.  You must do this first thing as they are very popular and when all is sold they close and that can be quite early.

We always love to look around the Iron Mongers store, with all the wonderful pots and pans, old brown mixing bowls and pudding basins.  This time I saw a little cast iron camp fire cooker, I was very tempted to buy it, but it could only have come on as hand luggage and I can just see me touting that around the airport on my own.  No it wasn't going to be.  So I sigh and walk by that.

 We walk on down the road and look in a couple of the shops, but the one that most reminds me of my child hood is the Post Office and Newsagents.  Here you can buy your daily newspaper or one of those lovely UK magazines, along with stationery, pens and numerous other items, of course sweets too, we just wander around.

Clare is an old wool town and this prosperity of old is reflected in the very large church in the centre of the village.  The lady walking down the street could so be my aunt Joan, that I look at it and think it is my aunt Joan, and when I get old and confused I'll probably look at this photo and say that was my aunt Joan walking down the street.

Even the little alley way between the two main streets is brightened by pots of flowers.

We've taken our short walk around the village we don't always visit everything as we've been there before and if mum was with us it had to be limited.  We slowly walk back to the Castle grounds near the canal where we will have our picnic lunch.

I'll take your there next time.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

An English Country Garden

Actually this is a garden in my sisters town on the same road as her friend lives.  Isn't it just how you imagine an English garden.

These houses were probably built in the sixties so I thought this sepia 60's finish was very appropriate.

I have more photos of my two trips to the UK this year and want to share them before year's end.


Teapot Serviette/Napkin Rings

A few weeks ago, a little package awaited me with these pewter Teapot Serviette Rings.  It was so sweet of L. to think of me and get them for me, when her husband has been so ill.

As a young teenager I had a friend whose house I would visit and they would always have their own serviette sitting on the dining room table in their own serviette ring.  It seems now that those times are of an almost long lost era in today's world.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Carl Larsson At His Home In Sundborn

This is a film of Carl Larsson at his home in Sundborn.  It must cover a period of time, because it goes from seeing them in a summer garden to the area being flooded.  It is a precious snapshot in time. 

Take a look at the ladies hats at the very beginning and their costumes of the period. Also the table set outside in the garden for a meal, notice the serviettes/napkins rolled up in little towers on each of the plates.  It is these little things that I think are so interesting to see.  I love his paintings.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Quirky Railway Museum Wedding in East Anglia

This is our families neck of the woods so when I saw this wedding featured I thought you might enjoy looking at it too.  It's venue was at the East Anglia Railway Museum.

It's just delightful and shows what you can come up with for a wedding.  Also love the Colchester Town Hall where the ceremony was held.


John Cleese On How To Be Creative

I found this on annekata's blog, most interesting.

John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, has a great lecture on How To Be Creative and the steps one needs to take to set the time and space.

He describes creativity not as talent, but a modus operandi. He distinguishes between two modes of operation.

First, is the closed mode, which is our normal daily attitude, which repesents work, errands, family, friends and social media all of which are simultaneously competing for our attention.
The second is the open mode in which exploration is the main objective and goal. Kids call it playtime, the  mode where creativity blossoms. To implement a new idea or concept, both modes are necessary. Once a creative thought or insight occurs the open state has to give way to the closed one to implement the new idea or concept without hesitation or doubt.
To enter the open mode can be difficult. Life usually get in the way.

According to Cleese there are 5 elements to help set the stage for the open mode:

1. Creating space: Make room (physical and mental) to explore. Cleese calls it setting up a space/time oasis.
2. Time (quantitative) : Set aside an hour and half or so with unobstructed time. No phone, no email, no interruptions. There needs to be a clear separation between your daily tasks and “open mode time”. Nobody gets creative in front of a computer.
3. Time (qualitative): Wait for the mind to calm down (which can take up to 30 minutes or longer you may know this from meditation or trying to get to sleep at night) and stop your mind’s chattering, if that’s possible. It can be hard in the beginning, but the mind does get quiet faster over time. Think about something interesting like two juxtaposed concepts and explore how they connect. Ponder until your time is running out. If something occurs, great, if not, don’t worry. Wait or sleep over it.
Good ideas often need time to “incubate” below the threshold of awareness. Cleese also warns off getting get rid of the discomfort of not having an answer/solution right away. He says that the most creative people are prepared to tolerate the discomfort of “not knowing” longer than other people. In other words, don’t grab the first creative idea or insight that comes to mind. Wait on it and even more creative ideas could follow. I thought that this is crucial.
4. Confidence: Don’t let the fear of failure get into the way. Don’t expect anything to happen. Play and experiment without aiming for a result. I find that the hard one. We are all taught to view “play time” as losing, or worse wasting time and are always concerned with setting and reaching goals.
5. Humor: Humor is a fast way to change from the closed mode into the open one.

Yes less time on the computer and all electronic gadgets giving one the space and time to create.  And the funny thing is I was just thinking about setting aside a creative space in my basement.  No the whole basement is not going to get redone, but almost cordoning off an area in a bigger void surrounded by and easy access to the tools that I would like to be creative with, instead of doing a house wide search.

It's easy for me to sit down and write that is my environment in the Simla room, but to sit and sew especially if a sewing machine is involved and a cutting area is involved this becomes more complicated, hence a large area in the basement.

Now the basement will take some creativity because it is a basement.  But I've got some ideas and I'll see if they gel together.

I totally agree with what I call sitting on something until it forms as a complete project in ones mind and this does not take place instantly.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tracey Porter and China Cutlery Holders, Thrifted Finds

Sometimes when I come home from work and I'm not so tired, I say let me just pop in the Thrift Shop, it's just around the corner from me and just about the only one I go to, not that I wouldn't like to visit more, but time constraints and it has to be on my beaten path.  

So this is what I found these lovely cockerel plates, from the Tracy Porter Collection, for seventy-five cents each along with the tray.  I think they're really fun. 

I had never seen a cutlery holder until I was at a friends one day and she had a little glass one with teaspoons in and I thought how neat is that.  So when I came across the Noritake one in front; which I bought a while ago I couldn't resist and the scene is so sweet to.  They had three in the Thrift, which must have come from someones collection because there were lots of pieces of Noritake, but I resisted and just bought that one piece.  

The other day though I found the two white ones and much less expensive the one is quite large definitely for knives and forms.  You just don't come across them too often.  Lovely for a little buffet luncheon, or High Tea, Um!

Have you run across these cutlery holders and if so have you ever used them, I just wondered?

The last hurrah! In the garden, the begonias are looking lovely before the frost gets them, and Virginia creeper always looks at it's best right now.  It would take over but we cut it back it can be destructive on walls.


Monday, October 15, 2012

What I've Been Reading, Midnight In Peking by Paul French and Full Body Burden by Kristen Iversen

Midnight in Peking, the year is 1937 Pamela Werner's body is found near The Fox Tower on a piece of no mans land.  This is a time when Peking is being closed in upon by the Japanese, many Westerners are leaving if they can, many can't as they are the flotsam and jetsam who have left Europe over the last decades, many being white Russians, add this to fortune hunters, diplomats and a very free life style, an underworld of opium and you have a true mystery.

Two detectives investigate the crime, a British detective Dennis and a Chinese detective Han.  It has shocked the elite enclaved mostly European community.  Who could do such a shocking thing a madman?  Must be a Chinese person or could it be one of their own?

These are the questions that haunt the detectives, but as time goes on one can see there is a lot of politics and payoffs involved.  This true story is revisited by Paul French and he does a great job, unearthing and reading through all the correspondence that Pamela's father sent to the foreign office in London after he did his own investigation.  You can come to some very compelling conclusions as to who did it, and why.

It's a great insight into Peking on the cuspid of WWII, but so sad that a teenage girls life should end like that.

Full Body Burden.  Growing up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats.  This is also a true story of Kristen Iversen, who lived in a wonderful new housing development built yes withing a hairs breath of Rocky Flats.

Just the name itself Rocky Flat is something you think now where have I heard that?  I can't say I read the whole book because it became very detailed in statistics, but I found the beginning very compelling and read quite a bit.

Did you know that the third worst nuclear disaster happened back in the fifties at Rocky Flats and was not equaled until more recently by Chernobyl and the Fukushima nuclear disaster that just happened in Japan.  That was kept under wraps and only providence of the wind blowing in the other direction stopped the whole of Denver, Colorado from being contaminated.  Of course one could ask who was contaminated then?

A compelling book to read and probably if I had more time I would read the entire book.  The perfect suburbia of the 1950s gone awry.  People becoming ill and not knowing why, it's all so new and what do they actually do at that plant, the government would never let us live here or build here if it wasn't safe!

Yes the people of 2012 are less trusting or are we?

I may come back and finish this book at some point, it makes you think.


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